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Data: Fair

Isobutylparaben

IMAGE SOURCE: PubChem

SEARCH PRODUCTS

Other Concerns

Use restrictions (high), Endocrine disruption (high), and Biochemical or cellular level changes (moderate)

SYNONYMS

2-METHYLPROPYL ESTER 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, 2-METHYLPROPYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, 4-HYDROXY- 2-METHYLPROPYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, 2-METHYLPROPYL ESTER, BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, 2-METHYLPROPYL ESTER, BENZOIC ACID, 4HYDROXY, 2METHYLPROPYL ESTER, ISOBUTYL 4-HYDROXYBENZOATE, ISOBUTYL ESTER PARAHYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, ISOBUTYL P-HYDROXYBENZOATE, ISOBUTYL PARAHYDROXYBENZOATE, ISOBUTYLPARABEN, PARAHYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, ISOBUTYL ESTER, and SODIUM ISOBUTYLPARABEN

Restricted

Restricted: EWG VERIFIED products cannot contain this ingredient without adequate substantiation


Isobutylparaben is in the parabens family of preservatives used by the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care product industries. Parabens mimic estrogen, are potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors, and were found in the breast cancer tumors of 19 of 20 women studied (Darbre 2004). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tested urine from a group of 2,548 Americans over the age of 6 and found parabens in over 99% of samples (Calafat 2010). Isobutylparaben is closely related to butylparaben, a compound considered to be a potential human endocrine system disruptor by the European Commission on Endocrine Disruption (EU 2007). Isobutylparaben appears to be more strongly estrogenic than butylparaben (Darbre 2002, Vo 2010), but receives a lower hazard score in Skin Deep because of the limited amount of toxicological research on this chemical. Subsequent research and agency assessments may find isobutylparaben to be as or more hazardous to the endocrine system than butylparaben.

Common concerns

See how this product scores for common concerns.

  • LOW
    Cancer
  • MODERATE
    Allergies & Immunotoxicity
  • MODERATE
    Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity
  • HIGH
    Use Restrictions

Ingredient concerns

  • CONCERNS
  • DATA SOURCES

Products with this Ingredient

Expand content Collapse content
eye liner8 products
blush8 products
lip liner6 products
styling mousse/foam3 products
eye shadow3 products
foundation2 products
facial moisturizer/treatment2 products
recreational sunscreen1 products
baby sunscreen1 products
lip balm with SPF1 products
polish remover1 products
hair treatment/serum1 products
body powder1 products
damaged skin treatment1 products
setting powder/spray1 products
makeup primer1 products
styling gel/lotion1 products
facial cleanser1 products
daily use with SPF1 products
foot moisturizer1 products
conditioner1 products
sunless tanning1 products
hair spray1 products
anti-aging1 products

Use restrictions

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Violation of government restrictions - Banned or found unsafe for use in cosmeticsEuropean Union - Banned or Restricted in Cosmetics
Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - anyOpen scientific literature
Determined safe for use in cosmetics, subject to concentration or use limitations - anyCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
Determined safe for use in cosmetics, subject to concentration or use limitations - anyOpen scientific literature

Endocrine disruption

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Known human any disruptorOpen scientific literature
Human endocrine disruptor - strong evidenceEuropean Commission on Endocrine Disruption
Limited evidence of endocrine disruptionOpen scientific literature
One or more studies show significant wildlife and the environment disruptionEuropean Commission on Endocrine Disruption
One or more studies show weak endocrine disruptionEWG Assessment of Open Scientific Literature
One or more animal studies show endocrine disruption at moderate dosesOpen scientific literature
One or more studies show weak endocrine disruptionOpen scientific literature
One or more animal studies show endocrine disruption at high dosesOpen scientific literature

Developmental/reproductive toxicity

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Possible human reproductive or developmental toxinOpen scientific literature
One or more animal studies show any effects at very low dosesOpen scientific literature

Allergies/immunotoxicity

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Human skin toxicant or allergen - strong evidenceCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
One or more human case studies show possible immune or allergenic effectsOpen scientific literature

Biochemical or cellular level changes

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Interferes with gene expresionOpen scientific literature

Data gaps

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Risk assessment method deficiencies and data gaps - Maximum reported "as used" concentration is basis of safety assessment by industry safety panel (Cosmetic Ingredient Review, CIR) - implicit safe concentration limit in productCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
Safety assessment was based on related chemicalCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
29 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemicalNLM PubMed

Ecotoxicology

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Not suspected to be an environmental toxinEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmfulEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Persistence and bioaccumulation

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Not suspected to be persistentEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Not suspected to be bioaccumulativeEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Multiple, additive exposure sources

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Designated as safe for general or specific, limited use in foodFDA Everything Added to Food

Informational

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Industry or government recommendations for safe use: restrictions on concentration, impurities, product types, or manufacturing methods - anyCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
  • EC (European Commission of the European Union). 1999-2006. Enterprise Directorate-General Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics. The rules governing cosmetic products in the European Union, Volume 1, "Cosmetics legislation."
  • Open scientific/peer reviewed literature
  • CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2006. CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
  • EU (European Union)- Strategy for Endocrine Disrupters 2007. Commision on endocrin disruption requested by the European Parliament in 1998.
  • EWG Assessment of Open Scientific Literature
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.
  • EC (Environment Canada). 2008. Domestic Substances List Categorization. Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Environmental Registry.
  • FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 2008. EAFUS [Everything Added to Food]: A Food Additive Database. FDA Office of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Understanding scores

Cosmetics and personal care products are not required to be tested for safety before being allowed on the market. The Skin Deep® scoring system was designed to help the public understand whether a product is safe to use or whether it contains ingredients of concern.

Every product and ingredient in Skin Deep gets a two-part score – one for hazard and one for data availability. The safest products score well by both measures, with a low hazard rating and a fair or better data availability rating.

HOW WE DETERMINE SCORES

Hazard score

The Skin Deep ingredient hazard score, from 1 to 10, reflects known and suspected hazards linked to the ingredients. The EWG VERIFIED™ mark means a product meets EWG’s strictest criteria for transparency and health.

Score legend

Data availability

The Skin Deep data availability rating reflects the number of scientific studies about the product or ingredient in the published scientific literature.

NONE LIMITED FAIR GOOD ROBUST
Low Availability
Moderate Availability
High Availability

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